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Sunday, 23 May 2021

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Beautiful story Mike. As pertains to the future my Father told me from his death bed,”The first five minutes after I die will be the most exciting time of my life.”

Mike

Thanks for sharing the stories. Stories like these often create a "lump" in the throat. At the end of the day, the only things people can bring along with them are memories.

Dan K.

One tip for those folks who are thinking about visiting "the old home place" I have found to be helpful. To overcome the reservations that the current owner or caretaker has, bring old photos, and copies that you can give them are even better. I find that really helps to open doors and allay suspicions.

It's also handy if you are prowling around areas not frequented by tourists. If you are looking for locations photographed by Walker Evans or FSA photographers (a common past-time around here) it's helpful to have some prints of the work.

I once lived in a house in Washington state built in 1908.
Similar experience -strangers at the door saying their parents once lived there. They themselves were too young to remember the house so a tour was pointless.
I gave them some glass plate negatives that I'd found under floorboards in the attic. These may have predated the time when their parents lived there. I don't think they even said a thank you as they left.
An odd encounter.

Cue up Springsteen, "My Father's House" ...

Mike

I had a vaguely related experience last year with 1972 photos that I put online. I had shot at a burned power station which is now hundreds of feet underwater in Raystown Lake in PA. These may be unique; I can't find any similar images or info.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/brucebordner/albums/72157626000392120 Raystown Powerplant (sorry)
So of course the divers who have recently visited the site contacted me and provided a few of their shots of the current condition. They find my work very valuable. So remember kids - don't throw anything away! It might pay off in 50 years...

My father died in January at the ripe old age of 98, sharp and lucid to the end. When cleaning his place out, my siblings and I found innumerable mementos from his (and our) past, including photos we'd never seen from his time as a WW2 bomber pilot. We distributed it all equitably, but I must be one of those pitiful "dismiss it all too casually" people, as I really couldn't muster much interest in it. Then I thought of my own children, who hadn't had 50+ years with this man, and revered him. Maybe they will hold my share of the photos and ephemera dearly, and I'm just grieving in a cold and distant way.

Sorry, you really can't go home again. I know, I tried. A house is no home unless the people you love are home.

Thanks for the yarn.
Mr Molitor has a theory about how people respond to photos. Hopefully he’ll drop by with his own comments.

For my own yarn, I had copies of some photos my great grandfather took when he visited family back in Scotland around 1900 - a little town called Creetown (on the river Cree). Around the turn of the millenium, I went working and travelling for a couple of years around the UK, as many Aussies and other nationalities do. And I went and visited the town. I was able to stand in roughly the same place as my forebears and take photos some hundred years later (using a cheap point & shoot - prior to my interest in photography). In some respects, things had changed little, other than the trees being taller ;)
Same pub was still in town too - if I had been less shy I would have stayed and chatted for a bit.

I live in an old, narrow Victorian shopfront terrace in the middle of a row in what was still a working class area when I bought it about 30 years ago but is now a fashionable inner-city suburb. At the time I bought it, it was being used a group house for cheap university student accommodation. But the layout was very strange, as all the upstairs internal walls had been knocked out to create one big room, with the walls and ceiling painted black - there were no lights at all - and 20 amp, three-phase power points had been wired into the walls just below ceiling level every few feet. Some 20 years later I caught a taxi-cab home from the airport and when I gave the address, the driver looked at me, said "You're joking." I replied "No. Really. I live there." He apologised and explained that he knew the building intimately. He was an actor by profession and from about 1960 to about 1974, my home had been a small performing arts centre which he had managed - the original downstairs shop was used as the front of house and as a bar and the upstairs room was the stage. He had personally knocked down the original lathe and plaster walls, painted the room black, and supervised the installation of the power-points for lighting effects. I must have looked at him strangely because he hastened to add, "No, no no! Not that type of acting! We held one and two person plays, poetry readings, and that sort of thing."

Mike,
Very nice post.
I had taken a photo of a Navajo man, probably in 1999 or 2001. In 2018 when I was visiting Monument Valley, I saw a man who looked just like the person whom I had photographed nearly twenty years ago, and I showed him the photo on my phone. He thought the photo was of his uncle, who had since died. So he introduced me to his daughter who was nearby. She confirmed that was indeed her father and they didn't have any photo of him and would love to have a print. I mailed them a large print of the photo when I returned. It was taken on a Hasselblad X-PAN. You can see the photo through the link on my name.

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